There have been floods of cheap video and audio gear from China for the past several years. That has created controversy in both fields. Are the more expensive, well known brands like Shure, Neumann, Electrovoice, Audio-Technica etc, always better than their Chinese knockoffs?
The Right Tool for the Job
A lot of it is subjective. Which microphone sounds better to your ears. Which will hold up the longest. Will a particular microphone be the best for the job you need it to do? For example, while you can use an expensive condenser mic in a live stage performance, it does have it’s own set of requirments and issues. It is very sensitive and will post a feedback issue. It’s more delicate and thus more prone to damage. Will it a Neumann condenser sound better than a Shure Sm58? Of course it will, but do you want to risk damaging a microphone worth thousands of dollars on a bar gig, or a $100 Shure?
Cost vs Benefit
There have been a lot of microphone comparisons done. I did my own a few years back which is available on the Voiceovers Etc page. But Paul Johnson did this one, and I think its quite illustrative of the point I am trying to make. I’ve also done a comparison between the cheap Chinese HTDZ HT81 shotgun mic and a Sennheiser Me66, in an early episode of Video QuickTips which you can check out as well. But Paul has access to far more microphones than I could afford. So watch and listen.